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In the news today: Wildfires continue raging across B.C., N.W.T.

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today... Smoky conditions help B.C.
Trevor Manzuik, who was evacuated from his home due to the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire, sprays down the brush on the road in front of his property after returning home by boat, in Scotch Creek, B.C., on Sunday, August 20, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

Smoky conditions help B.C. fire fight

As Metro Vancouver is being warned about the risk of particulates in the air from wildfire smoke, those battling blazes in the central Okanagan say the smoke is helping their cause.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District remains under an air quality advisory as a result of smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning across the province.

An estimated 30,000 people are under evacuation orders in the province because the blazes, including the 110-square-kilometre McDougall Creek fire burning on both sides of Lake Okanagan.

Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting told a press conference that while the amount of smoke in the air has been "tough" it is reducing the sun's intensity, which helps in the fight.


More soldiers deployed to N.W.T for wildfire fight

Defence Minister Bill Blair says another company of soldiers is being deployed to Hay River in the Northwest Territories, which has been evacuated for more than a week due to a threatening wildfire nearby.

Blair announced the deployment to the town located on the south shore of Great Slave Lake in a tweet yesterday afternoon, saying it will bring the number of soldiers who are helping the territory around Hay River and Yellowknife to around 400.

N.W.T officials say a fire that's forced the evacuation of Yellowknife didn't grow much yesterday and still remains about 15 kilometres away from the capital, but the fight is expected to become more difficult as temperatures rise this week.

Premier Caroline Cochrane says she has spoken with several federal ministers, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, about how the territory needs financial assistance to deal with the fires and help evacuees.


Here's what else we're watching ...

N.W.T. premier recounts hunt for homeless

The premier of the Northwest Territories says she checked to make sure homeless people weren't forgotten when a wildfire forced mostly everyone to leave the territorial capital last week.

Caroline Cochrane was a social worker for 20 years before entering politics. 

She is now among the nearly 70 per cent of territory residents forced to flee the fire threat, including most of the 20-thousand who live in Yellowknife. 

She says the government worked closely with shelters in the city to make sure people were being brought to the evacuation centre.

She says all day on Thursday, she drove around with a homeless man, whose name she didn't provide, trying to find people still on the street.


Gathering to help healing after mass stabbing

A Saskatchewan First Nation that was the site of a mass stabbing last year is hosting a gathering of traditional healing. 

James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns says up to 3,000 people from across North America are expected to be in the community north of Saskatoon this week to take part in spiritual and traditional healing practices. 

Eleven people were killed and 17 were injured during a rampage in the First Nation and nearby village of Weldon last September.

Burns says many people in the community are still struggling with trauma and the event is meant to help with healing and provide support.


Recently shuffled cabinet meeting in Charlottetown

The Liberal cabinet is in Prince Edward Island's capital this week for a retreat as it gets ready for the next sitting of the Parliament. 

It's expected the housing crisis will be the central topic for ministers as they sit down to discuss their government's priorities. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said this summer's cabinet shuffle was meant to signal a new focus on the economy and affordability. 

MPs will be back in the House of Commons on Sept. 18.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press